Monday, August 31, 2020

Preserving our traditional Puerto Rican cuisine

 Preserving our traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. . .

by Erisbelia Garriga

Traditional Puerto Rican Food

Each ethnic group considers its own typical cuisine as the best food in the world.  At the same time virtually all cuisines have had foreign influence.  Puerto Rican cuisine has been no different, with contributions from Spanish, French, African and more recently American food.  One pillar of Puerto Rican cooking is its seasoning, sofrito, which gives it its distinctive flavor.

I was born and raised in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.  I grew up among women who loved cooking, always in the kitchen preparing all kinds of dishes.  Mention that you had a particular craving for something and one of them would get up and begin preparing it, without recipes.  And whatever they made, it would taste wonderfully great.  Today we still crave some of those traditional dishes.

Puerto Rican food
is very delicious, especially when you remember the smoky flavors provided by using wood as heat when our mothers and grandmothers cooked.  This was food eaten with your fingers, licking them as you finished eating.  I savor the opportunity I had to taste and remember those dishes.  It‘s harder today to recapture that distinctive flavor due in part to the equipment use in the modern kitchens.  People seek out kiosks or come y vetes (old-fashioned fast food places) and order alcapurrias, sorullos, empanadillas, among others.  In every town in the Island and in almost all states in the United States where Puerto Ricans live, there is always a local who can point you to those eateries.

Puerto Rican Cuisine

Puerto Ricans’ passion for food and their culture is expressed through their cuisine.  Nearly every  occasion is celebrated with food and music  to enjoy the moment, especially traditional cooking:  lechón asado or pernil  (roast pork), rice with pigeon peas, rice with chicken, pasteles, asopao de gandules, de camarones, de pollo, among others, even when it’s not the season for some of these dishes.  Needless to say, the “fast food” influence has changed the way we eat.  We seem not to have enough time to cook and enjoy delicious traditional dishes the way we used to with our families.

Yet, chefs have been revolutionizing our traditional food, using their skills to create new dishes, opening the door for others to do the same by using their imagination.  Increasingly, there is a fusion of cuisines, combining our traditional with that of other ethnic groups using locally produced ingredients.  Our typical “pastel”, which used to be prepared with green bananas only is now prepared using breadfruit, ñame, yautía, calabaza, apio, malanga, rice, often in combination.  There are festivals in various towns in Puerto Rico celebrating individual ingredients creating exciting new dishes, such as pigeon peas cake, pigeon peas custard, and pasteles de apio.

It’s safe to say our traditional dishes will never disappear as long as there are people who wish to preserve them, who are willing to pass them on to their children, passing on their knowledge from one generation to the next.  This is their legacy, and one venue is through the written word.  This, then, is the purpose of Sabrosuras Boricuas and Homestyle Puerto Rican Cooking.  ¡Buen provecho!  Enjoy!

Eris Carriga 

Erisabelia Garriga, a native of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, did her undergradutate studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, and graduate studies at New York University. After some years in high school and college teaching, shes worked for the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, from which she is now retired.

Ms. Garriga has published two cookbooks: Homestyle Puerto Rican Cooking, Traditional Recipes with a Modern Touch! and Sabrosuras Boricuas, Recetas Criollas Puertorriqueñas con un Toque Moderno.

You can visit her website or Follow her on Facebook

Homestyle Puerto Rican Cooking 


This family cookbook will introduce the reader to our treasured classic Puerto Rican recipes as well as new ones. It is a collection of family recipes and the result of my experimentation with them. It is about innovation, taking simple ingredients and playing them off each other. The majority of the recipes are from my parents, others are personal and a few others from family members and friends. There are variations and familiar dishes were recreated, sometimes using substitute ingredients. Though family members, using the same ingredients, will prepare similar dishes in a different way, the end result is, nonetheless, a delicious, enjoyable dish.

Sabrosuras Boricuas 

Sabrosuras Boricuas, Puerto Rican Recipes with a Modern Touch is a family recipe's collection with a lot of pictures and easy to prepare. Sabrosuras Boricuas received an "Honorific Mention" in the "9th International Latino Book Awards" celebrated in the Javits Center, in New York, on May 31, 2007. Also won in the category of the "Better Latin Book Cuisine" in Latin America, in the contest "Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2006" celebrated in Madrid, Spain. The book will be at the "Olympic Exhibition" of cuisine books and wines that Gourmand will exhibit in Beijing during the Olympic year from August, 2007 to August, 2008. Sabrosuras Boricuas is a gastronomic trip to the Island of Enchantment without the expense of the trip. It is the ideal gift for any occasion as birthday, weddings, or to give your thanks to that special person.

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Friday, August 28, 2020

Vejigante Masks - Vejigante de Ponce

Vejigante New York City Vejigante New York City

Carnivals and festivals are very important traditions in Puerto. Such festivals are religious in nature and represent the fight between what is good and what is evil. It is a blending of Caribbean, Spanish and African customs. Rich in culture and heritage, vejigante masks, St. James the Apostle and the cities of Loiza and Ponce play very important roles in the vejigantes of Puerto Rico.

There are three major festivals in Puerto Rico. They are the Carnival of Ponce, St James Festival, and the Hatillo Mask Festival of the Holy Innocents. The masks used for the Hatillo Mask Festival of the Holy Innocents represented the soldiers that killed the children of Israel at King Herod’s request. Vejigantes masks are significant for the Carnival of Ponce and the St. James Festival, also. Vejigante is known as a clownish character dressed in traditional colors which at one time were black, red, white and yellow. However, today, all bright colors are used. Vejigante masks or fright masks are paired with a costume in the form of a body suit with bat-like wings. The costume is complete with shoes, jingle bells and the cow bladder painted to look like a balloon. The origin of the word Vejigante comes from Vejiga means bladder and gigante means giant. As the vejigante runs the streets dancing and frightening individuals, ballooned animal bladders are used the beat away evil spirits.

Vejigante Masks Vejigante with Mask Puerto Rican Parade New York City

Vejigante Masks

The St. James Festival came about from the Apostle James, who is the patron saint of Spain. St. James was one of the 12 Disciples of Christ. In the 12th century, it is said that St. James miraculously appeared before the Catholic militia and led them in battle against the Moors or Muslims and defeated them. At this festival, the Vejigante refers to the Moors. There are four main characters in the Festivals of St. James the Apostle. They are el Caballero or the knight, los Vejigantes and los Viegos are the elders, and las Locas are the crazy women. As St. James the Apostle evangelized to the Celtic peoples, the Virgin Mary appeared to him upon the Nuestra Senora del Pilar. She told him to build a sanctuary to glorify and honor God. All who came to visit would experience her blessings. Upon completion of the sanctuary, he was to go back to Palestine to die. Saint James was beheaded in 44 AD by King Herod. His remains were taken back to Spain and became a place of pilgrimage. Every year in the month of July, there is a 10 day festival as a tribute to his victory.

The famed vejigante masks are made in the cities of Loiza and Ponce. Loiza was a small town in Puerto Rico populated by freed or escaped Africa slaves. Due to government neglect, it became a poor town. However today it is called The Capital of Tradition because certain types of Puerto Rican music originated there. The barrio is also famous for its artisans and dancers. It is considered a great tourist destination today. Loiza is famous for its coconut vejigante masks. Because of the extreme African influence in this town, these masks are made of coconut shells. The shell is cut as well as the nut and some of the coconut inside to make space for a human face. A monstrous looking face is carved into the shell and the teeth are created. The tongue is also made of coconut shell. A cape is added at the end. These masks with large horns, big eyes and huge lips and noses represented demons.

Vejigantes de Ponce

vejigantes vejigantes (Photo credit: digitizedchaos)

The Festival Vejigante de Ponce is set in Puerto Rico’s second largest city. Every February prior to lent, the vejigante de Ponce takes center stage during the festival and the celebration is six or seven days in length. A vejigante mask made in Ponce differs from Loiza because it is made of paper mache. This process is simply dipping paper strips in a glue mixture and molding it. These molds dry into hard shapes. The form of the face is a clay mold or outer shell of a large gourd. The horns are another mask tradition and are usually bull or cattle molds. This celebration in Ponce is known for plena music, parades and also Shrove Tuesday or Entiero de la Sardine. This is a mock funeral with drag queens as mourners and others crying for the death of the Sardine which is buried because of Lent. A coffin carrying a dummy is set on fire to symbolize the burning away of the sins of the flesh.

Vejigantes at Festival del Platano

If you are looking for fun and excitement mixed with history, traditions, and culture, perhaps you should plan your next exciting vacation during the time of the Carnival of Ponce and The Festivals of St. James the Apostle. You will certainly want to experience the unique vejigante de Ponce as well as all other famous characters that make these festivals rise to greatness year after year.

Additional Information on Vejigante Masks and Vejigantes de Ponce

THE LOIZA ALDEA YEARLY PATRON SAINTS DAY the History of Vejigante Masks Handcrafted Vejigante CarnivalMasks from Ponce, Puerto Rico

Mascaras de Vejigantes YOU TUBE Video
 Carnaval de Ponce 2015 YOU TUBE Video

Where to Buy Vejigante Masks

Puerto Rican Art and Crafts

Thursday, August 27, 2020

How to select a set of Double Six Dominoes

Domino Set

Domino Set

The standard domino set for Double Six consists of 28 pieces.  Get a set with larger pieces and spinners.  Sets with the largest pieces of dominoes are called professional and jumbo, and they measure 1”x2”x3/8” and 1”x2”x1/2”, respectively.  These larger pieces are easier to handle, and they can stand at the ends without falling over.  The spinner, the small brass or aluminum pin in the middle of each piece, prevents the domino pieces from resting flat on the table. This helps protect the surface of the domino pieces and the table. In addition, pieces with spinners are easier to shuffle, because the pieces can spin or rotate on the spinners.

Dominoes come in wide variety of materials, colors and sizes.  Earlier domino pieces were mostly made of ivory, animal bones, stone, hardwood, or ceramic clay.  Modern commercial dominoes are usually made of synthetic materials, such as ABS, polystyrene plastics, acrylic, and other resin composites.  With the many choices available, it is important to choose a domino set that is attractive, durable and practicable. The following information will help you with the decision.

Step 1: Material
The material is important in terms of the attractiveness and durability of the pieces.  For instance, domino pieces made of fine ivory, stone or hardwood are both durable and attractive, but they are usually more expensive.  Conversely, domino pieces made of synthetic materials are usually less expensive, but they are not as durable and attractive.  Domino pieces should stand rough handling without losing material integrity or attractiveness, because players sometimes slam pieces on the table as emphasis of a play.

Puerto Rico Dominoes

Step 2: Color
While traditional pale colors are generally preferred, domino sets in colors such as red, blue and brown now are commonly available.  When it comes to color, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But since colors vary in visibility, domino pieces made of certain colors are hard to see.  For instance, a pale-colored piece with a dot of similar color would be hard to see, particularly under artificial lighting.  There should be a strong contrast in colors between the dots and body of the piece, regardless of the colors used.  A black domino piece with white dots illustrates the point.

Step 3:  Size
Size is important, primarily for handling of the domino pieces.  Domino sets usually come in size mini (9/32”X1 3/16”X3/16”), small (3/4”X1 ½”X9/32”), professional (1”X2”X3/8”), jumbo (1”X2”X1/2”), and tournament (1 3/32”X2 3/16”X ½”).   It would be rare to find serious domino players playing with a set of mini or small dominoes.  Kids, novices to the game, or travelers with limited playing space, commonly use these types of domino sets.  Most domino players prefer professional, jumbo or tournament sets, because the pieces are easier to handle during shuffle, positioning and playing.  For instance, when domino racks are unavailable, players usually stand the pieces in front of them.  Only the bigger pieces would remain upright without readily falling on the table.

Step 4:  Spinner
The “spinner”, the small pin located in the middle of a domino's dividing bar, is generally made of metal and rounded off so as to avoid scratching the table top.  When dominoes were made of two discrete materials (often ebony and ivory), the spinner was actually a small pin whose purpose was to hold the white ivory face to the dark ebony side of the domino. In other words, the purpose was purely mechanical.  Today, the spinner’s use is mostly to protect the face of the domino pieces and table during the shuffle, and to facilitate the shuffling of the pieces. In this last function, the spinner acts as a pivot.

Juan R. Rivera, J.D., author of “Double six, dominoes for the entire family”

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A Brief Summary of the Origin, and Survival of the Taino Language

 by David Wahayona Campos

The Greater Antilles, lying in the center of the Caribbean region, contain the four largest islands of the area. The islands of Cubanakan (Cuba), Boriken (Puerto Rico), Bohio (Haiti/Republica Dominica), Xamaika (Jamaica), as well as the Lucayo (Bahamas) all share a universal language with some dialectal differences. In the late 1500s Bishop Las Casas stated "En todas estas islas eran una lengua y misma costumbres."

The Taino language of the Greater Antilles is related to the Arawakan stock stemming from South America, "the people of the Arawak language family still comprise on of the more widespread indigenous culture within relatively large kinship nations in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins of South America." (Barreiro, 1990) The language of the central Arawak or Lokono (meaning the "people"), and the Garifuna currently of Central America, are prime examples
that are closely related to the Taino language, which is sometimes referred to as "Island-Arawak."

The Carib of neighboring islands such as Waitukubuli [Dominca] also fused their Cariban language with that of the Eyeri and Taino peoples. Island-Carib men took Eyeri and Taino wives, thus enabling the women to past down their languageto their children. An "Island- Carib" dictionary, translated into French was complied by Father Raymond Breton on theisland of Dominica in 1665. Today we know that the dictionary is a fusion between the Island-Cariband Arawak languages. The bulk of the dictionary is now identified as "Arawakan."

In 1797, the so-called "Black-Caribs" (due to racial mixing) or Garifuna of St. Vincent were exiled by the British and moved to the "Bay Islands" (present day Islas dela Bahia) off the northern coast of Honduras. The Caribs of Dominica were never removed and remain there till this day. The Garifuna, speak a Creole language, which still retains components of their indigenous origins.

It is interesting to note that the syntax structure and affix/suffix structure of the Garifuna language is primarily of Arawakan-Maipure origin, making it a valuable component in the reconstruction of the Taino language. There are an estimated 77,000 Garifuna alive today. Their spoken dialect is one of the closest to the Taino or Island- Arawak language.

Contrary to what has been thought and taught by some, the Taino language was not completely extinguished. Portions were absorbed overtime into the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Spanish spoken in Boriken retains over 600 Taino words. A considerable amount of Taino words are also used in Quisqueya and Cuba.

Among words of indigenous origin are objects, geographical names, personal names as well as flora and fuana. A few contemporary cities and towns in Boriken include Yabucoa, Bayamon, Coamo, Ceiba, Caguas, Guanica, Areciboetc. Throughout all the islands, a majority of native trees, fruits and rivers also retain their Taino names. The name of insects, birds, fish, and other animals alone reach into the hundreds. Other common words of Taino origin include conuco (garden), coa (digging stick), macuto (knapsack), canoa (canoe), hamaca (hammock), and toto/or xoxa (vagina), etc. These words and many more are so common that they are thought to be of Spanish origin. There are many who are "bilingual" inthe sense that they use Taino and Spanish words interchangeably; for example, the Spanish word buho and the Taino word mucaro for owl. "The prevalence of these words suggest a prolonged period of Taino-Spanish interaction where by these names could be wholly incorporated into the Spanish language". (Ferbel 1995)

Many Taino words are used as adjectives and verbs. For example, the phrase "dar mucho katei" and "joder la pita" means to be very bothersome. "Duro como el guayacan" refers to a person in good shape and "tiene unos macos bonitos" means having pretty eyes.

The distinct nasal sounds in the contemporary speech of many "Boricuas" and others from neighboring islands is of Taino origin. The pronunciation of the aspirated "H" is a common trait of the Arawakan language. Also it is quite likely that the transformation of words ending in the suffix-ado into 'ao', which
originated in parts of Spain, was adopted by the indigenous population due to its similarity to existing Taino language structures! Some example of this is 'colorado' becomes colorao, 'apurado' becomes apurao, and 'cansado' becomes cansao. It can also be considered that Caribbean Spanish is in fact a hybrid language.

Taino villages continued to exist into the 18th century and Taino consciousness to the present day. A census taken in Quisqueyain 1777 revealed that out of the 400,000 total population, 100,000 were of Taino-European descent and 60,000 of Taino-African descent (Emilio Rodrigues de Demorizi). An un-official census in 1799 in the town of San German revealed alarge indigenous population in Boriken. "Throughout the Caribbean; usually in remote mountain ranges and coastal promontories, remnant groups and communities of Taino- Arawak and Carib descendants survive to the present" (Jose Barriero, 1990). In Cuba, there is a strong Guajiro - Taino presence in
various towns in the eastern most provinces, such as the Baracoa region. There is also a Carib reserve on the island of Dominica, where Caribs continue to make canoas in the traditional fashion just as our ancestors did. Thus the native language continued to thrive in small enclaves throughout the Caribbean islands.

We can speculate that one of the last fluent speakers of "la idioma Taino" on the island of Cuba passed away around 1910. There is also another case on the island of Puerto Rico in which a recording made in the early 1970s of an elderly woman living in the Indieras of the Lares region, retained some fluency in the indigenous tongue of Boriken. The recordings (which have been unattainable to UCTP) are said to be stored at La Universidadde Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras.

Present studies have been made on the Taino language such as "Diccionario de Voces Indigenas de Puerto rico" by Luis Hernandez Aquino (1993), "Glosario Etimological Taino - Espanol" by Perea (1941), "Arqueologia Linguistica (Estudios Modernos Diriggidos Al Rescate y Reconstruccion de lArahuaco Taino" by Dr. Manuel Alvarez Nazario. Current works are in progress to continue the work of reviving the Taino language.

In conclusion, the purpose of this brief informative summary is to educate and create an awareness to enable today's Tainos (and our Carib neighbors) to continue to honor our beautiful and ancient living heritage. Language is an expression of one's culture. Slowly (but surely) through these continuing efforts, we will begin to see a reemergence of the Taino language in generations to come.


UCTP Taino News Moderator's Note: "A Brief Summary of the Origin, and Survival of the Taino Language" by David Wahayona Campos was published in "La Voz del Pueblo Taino" News Journal, Volume 2, Issue 3 (July/August 1999) by permission of the author.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Puerto Rican Parrots

by J. Michael Meyers

National Biological Service

The Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata) had shared its habitat with the peaceful Taino Indians for centuries before the arrival of European settlers in the Caribbean.

Status and Trends

Upon arrival of the Spanish in 1493, the Puerto Rican parrot lived in all major habitats of Puerto Rico and the adjacent smaller islands of Culebra, Mona, Vieques, and possibly the Virgin Islands (Snyder et al. 1987). Parrots occupied eight major climax or old-growth forest types (Little and Wadsworth 1964) that covered Puerto Rico and were interspersed only by small, scattered, sandy, or marshy areas near the coast (Snyder et al. 1987). Parrots nested in cavities of large trees that were plentiful throughout the forests. Fertile, moist lowland forests in the coastal plain as well as forested mountain valleys contained much of the fruits and seeds necessary to feed a thriving parrot population. The forests of Puerto Rico probably supported a parrot population of 100,000-1,000,000 at the end of the 15th century (Snyder et al. 1987; Wiley 1991).

Little habitat change occurred in Puerto Rico during the first 150 years of European settlement. By 1650 the Spanish population had increased to 880 (Snyder et al. 1987); parrots still occupied all major habitats and were plentiful. During the next two centuries the human population soared to almost 500,000, and clearing for agriculture, especially in the lowlands, eradicated forests in Puerto Rico (Wadsworth 1949). By 1836 reports by Moritz, a German naturalist, indicated that the Puerto Rican parrot population had begun to decline (Snyder et al. 1987).

By 1900 the human population had doubled to a million. About 76% of the land area of Puerto Rico had been converted from forest to agriculture (Snyder et al. 1987); less than 1% of the old-growth forest remained after more than 400 years of European civilization. At this time, the parrot population must have been low, but no data exist. By 1937 U.S. Forest Service (USFS) rangers estimated the Puerto Rican parrot population at about 2,000 birds (Wadsworth 1949).

A few years later, parrots were found only in the Luquillo Mountains, formerly a forest reserve of the Spanish Crown and now managed by the USFS. This area contained the last forest habitat suitable for Puerto Rican parrots.

Population surveys of the Puerto Rican parrot were not conducted until the 1950's. Early estimates of the parrot population in Puerto Rico are based on few written records and general observations (Snyder et al. 1987), knowledge of the parrot's biology, and extrapolation of population surveys conducted by Rodríguez-Vidal (1959). During the 1950's, Rodríguez-Vidal of the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture and Commerce conducted the first extensive study of the Puerto Rican parrot. He reported a population of 200 Puerto Rican parrots by the mid-1950's. About 20 years later the population had dwindled to 14 individuals that inhabited an isolated rain forest of the Luquillo Mountains.

In 1968 Kepler, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), organized parrot surveys by placing observers at strategic sites, including overlooks from prominent rocks, road-cuts, and building roofs. Snyder et al. (1987) improved the survey method in 1972 by constructing 10 treetop lookouts in areas of major parrot use. Parrot surveys are conducted from these platforms during the breeding season and pre- and postbreeding season (Snyder et al. 1987). Observers collect information on parrot numbers, directions, and their distance from the platform by the time of day. By 1993 this treetop lookout system was expanded to 38 platforms (Vilella and García 1994).

In 1968 implementation of the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Plan began; it is a cooperative effort of scientists and managers of the Puerto Rico Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, USFS (Caribbean National Forest and International Institute of Tropical Forestry), USFWS Puerto Rican Parrot Field Office, and the National Biological Service. After the recovery program began, the parrot population increased to 47 birds by 1989 (Wiley 1980; Lindsey et al. 1989; Meyers et al. 1993); however, about 50% of the population was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo that same year. A small population of 22- 24 individuals remained in late 1989. Since then, the population recovered to 38-39 by early 1994 (F.J. Vilella, USFWS, personal communication). After the hurricane, the number of successful nesting pairs increased from a maximum of 5 to 6 pairs from 1991 to 1993 (Meyers et al. 1993; Vilella and García 1994).

Research and Management

Puerto Rican parrots declined in relation to the increasing human population. Conversion of forests to agriculture and loss of forest habitat, on which the species depended for food and nest cavities, was the primary cause for decline. Shooting parrots for food or protection of crops and capture for pets were secondary causes for decline. The remnant parrot population in the Luquillo Mountains was further stressed when trails and roads were created and when human uses of the forest timber were encouraged in the early 1900's (Snyder et al. 1987).

Storms before the arrival of Europeans probably had little effect on the parrot population because the population was more widespread, and hurricanes tend to affect only a small geographic area. Severe hurricanes in 1898, 1928, 1932, and 1989 reduced small, now-isolated populations even further. The apparent ability of the population to rebound after these storms is suggested by increases in the parrot population and in nesting pairs after Hurricane Hugo hit the island in 1989 (Meyers et al. 1993).

Intense research and management strategies during the last 27 years have prevented the extinction of the Puerto Rican parrot. Much of the effort to rebuild the population has involved research and management of nesting sites (Wiley 1980; Snyder et al. 1987; Lindsey et al. 1989; Wiley 1991). Predators, such as black rats (Rattus rattus) and pearly-eyed thrashers (Margarops fuscatus), have been controlled (Snyder et al. 1987). Bot fly (Philornis spp.) infestations of nestlings are still a minor problem (Lindsey et al. 1989). Management of nests by fostering captive-reared young into wild nests, guarding nests, controlling honey bees (Apis mellifera), improving and maintaining existing nest cavities, and creating enhanced nesting cavities should increase the population of the Puerto Rican parrot (Wiley 1980; Lindsey et al. 1989; Wiley 1991; Lindsey 1992; Vilella and García 1994).

Hurricanes will continue to threaten the wild population of the Puerto Rican parrot. Researchers estimate that storms equal to the intensity of Hugo (sustained winds of 166 km/h or 104 mi/h) occur at least every 50 years in northeastern Puerto Rico (Scatena and Larsen 1991). The risk of extinction caused by hurricanes will be reduced by establishing a geographically separated wild population (USFWS 1987).

Introduced parrots and parakeets are common in Puerto Rico, including some of the genus Amazona. Monitored populations of these non-native birds have increased from 50% to 250% during 1990-93 (J.M. Meyers, National Biological Service, unpublished data). If they expand their ranges to include older forests, these populations may pose a threat to the Puerto Rican parrot by introducing diseases and by competing for resources. At present, none of the introduced Amazona populations are found near the Luquillo Mountains; however, orange-fronted parakeets (Aratinga canicularis) have foraged and nested in these mountains at lower elevations (J.M. Meyers, NBS, unpublished data).

As the Puerto Rican parrot population increases, it is possible that suitable nesting sites may limit population growth. Before this occurs, research and management should concentrate on increasing the wild population. The ability of the Puerto Rican parrot to expand its population in a manner similar to the exotic parrots in Puerto Rico, in a variety of natural and human-altered environments, should not be underestimated and may be the key to its recovery.

For further information:

J. Michael Meyers
National Biological Service
Patuxent Environmental
Science Center
PO Box N
Palmer, Puerto Rico 00721-0501 USA

Monday, August 24, 2020

Luquillo Beach - La Capital del Sol

Luquillo Beach Puerto Rico | Luquillo Beach

Luquillo Beach

Luquillo Beach is the jewel of all the Puerto Rican beaches. Known as La Capital del Sol, the sun capital and La Riviera de Puerto Rico, (Puerto Rico's Riviera) this wonderful place was founded in 1797 by Cristobal Guzman. The huge plantation that hosts large coconut palms shades more than a mile of sparkling shimmering sand. It is the perfect place to enjoy a vacation that will stay with you long after you have returned home. This is the nicest beach that you will find in San Juan.

When you arrive in Luquillo Beach, you will have fine array of places to stay and to dine. Stay at places such as Condominio Playa Azul and enjoy a private ocean view and the most spectacular scenery that you have ever seen. Here you will find all the amenities you could want and more. Another one of the many accommodations here is Laquillo Beach Inn, which is located only 26 miles from the airport.

Luquillo Beach Palm Tree lined beach

For dining you will find a wide array of places to dine from a elegant evening's dining to a bun on the run. You can dine at such places as Lolita's, where you'll find the best Mexican food you've ever eaten. For those of you on a budget, try Victor's Place where you'll find seafood as their specialty. Your choices are unlimited for places to dine in Luquillo Beach.

Luquillo Beach Puerto Rico

If you can tear yourself away from the swimming, snorkeling, and wind surfing of the beach, then take time out to do some sight seeing in Luquillo. Visit such places as the El Yunque National Forest, a tropical rainforest that stretches over 28,000 acres and has an estimated 240 different types of trees and other plants that you will find very interesting. See the sights of Hacienda Carabali, where you can take a two- hour horseback ride into the foothills of the rain forest and enjoy the breathtaking views that nature displays in this part of the world.

Luquillo Beach la Capital del Sol

Choose to visit during one of the annual festivals, such as the Patron Saints Festival in March, or the Leatherback Turtle Festival in April, both of which take place during the tourist season. This is one opportunity to take in the cultural scene of the island. Luquillo Beach will give you everything in a vacation that you want and more. When you leave you will be planning your next trip to this wonderful paradise. You will talk about the memories you home with you for years to come or at least until you return to make new ones.

More Information about Luquillo Beach Puerto Rico

Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico - from
the Town of Luquilllo, Puerto Rico - from Wikipedia

Balneario de Luquillo

Friday, August 21, 2020

El Yunque – Puerto Rico's Rain Forest

 Author: Derek Robinson

El Yunque Puerto Rico | Tropical Rain Forest El Yunque

el Yunque Puerto Rico

In the northeastern corner of Puerto Rico lies one of the richest rain forests on earth. El Yunque National Forest, formerly called the Caribbean National Forest, is the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest System. It's an important ecosystem on the island, and a favorite destination of native Puerto Ricans and tourists alike. Occupying just over 28,000 acres, it's impossible to see the entire thing in one day, or even in one week. Some areas are so dense as to make any sort of hiking nearly impossible. Still, there are many areas that are more open and conducive to hiking or walking. And there's a lot to see. Waterfalls, all kinds of plants and flowers, and too many birds and other forms of wildlife to count. If you really want to get a good look at some of the animals that live in the forest bring a pair of waterproof binoculars. They need to be waterproof because the air is so humid, it would damage regular binoculars.

El Yunque is one of the oldest nature reserves in the western hemisphere. The land was protected by Spain's King Alfonso XII in 1876, and then established as Luquillo Forest Reserve in 1903. It became a National Forest in 1906, and was renamed Caribbean National Forest in 1935. It remained as such until 2007, when the name was changed to El Yunque to portray more accurately the culture and history of Puerto Rico and its people.

Tropical Rainforest el Yunque

A true rainforest, El Yunque receives about 240 inches of rain each year. That's roughly 100 billion gallons throughout the forest. Another good reason to make sure you bring waterproof binoculars or cameras! You may also want to use a good binocular harness to keep your hands free while you hike.

El Yunque Puerto Rico | Tropical Rain Forest El Yunque Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, so no passport is necessary to travel there. If you're traveling from anywhere other than the U.S., it's a good idea to check on this before you plan your travel so you're prepared. While you're visiting, be sure to sample some of Puerto Rico's native cuisine. The island is known for everything from the staple chicken and rice, to delicious fresh seafood. The island also offers several kinds of exotic tropical fruit not found in many other parts of the world.

El Yunque makes it possible for may people to see a real rain forest without having to travel too long of a distance. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience not to be missed.

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About the Author:

Derek Robinson is a keen outdoorsman who contributes regularly for many websites including The Binocular Site which is the premier consumer site about binoculars, monoculars, spotting scopes and much more at
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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Paso Fino Horses - Puerto Rico Paso Fino

English: a Drawing of the Famous Puerto Rican ... English: a Drawing of the Famous Puerto Rican Paso Fino Stallion Dulce Sueño, born in 1927 in Guayama Puerto Rico. Dulce Sueño, went on to become the most influencias sire of his era

Paso Fino Horses

By: Crystal A. Eikanger

The Paso Fino horse has a proud past and is one of the oldest native breeds in the Western Hemisphere. During the 500 years that they have been selectively bred in the Western Hemisphere, the Paso Fino has participated in the conquest of the Americas, and then in the exploration and development of both North and South American continents. Today they are show horses, pleasure trail horses, and have a host of versatile uses in all equine disciplines. But it is the lateral four-beat gait that distinguishes the Paso Fino. This exceptionally smooth motion makes it an excellent choice for people with spinal injuries or arthritis, as well as for therapeutic riding programs for the handicapped.

The origins of the Paso Fino began in Spain where a chance mix of breeds created offspring that would one day become one of the world's finest riding horses. When the Moors occupied the Spanish countryside they brought with them the Berber horse, also known as the Barb. Interbreeding with native Spanish stock produced the delicately gaited Spanish Jennet (which is now extinct, but being re-created). These were subsequently bred with the Andalusian. The resulting offspring had the hardiness of the Barb; the natural pride and presence of the Andalusian; and the extremely comfortable saddle gait of the Spanish Jennet.

In 1492, Columbus discovered that the New World had no horses, so with his second voyage, he brought the first horses to Santo Domingo, a select group of mares and stallions from Andalusia and Cordela of the above mixed bloodlines. The result of the blending of these horses and the isolation of them to such a small area assured that these bloodlines would eventually evolve into the Paso Fino horse.

The offspring of these isolated horses were dispersed through the various lands that the conquistadores invaded. Centuries of selective breeding by colonists in Latin America and the Caribbean produced variations of the "Caballo de Criollo," (native horse). Among them was the small, extremely muscular, very refined Paso Fino that flourished initially in Puerto Rico and Colombia, and later, in many other Latin American countries (primarily Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, and Venezuela) that were suitable for ranch work throughout Central and South America. But most treasured was the incredibly smooth gait of the Jennet which was quickly recognized as a desirable trait and actively perpetuated. This gait became the genetic stamp of the Paso Fino.

Puerto Rico Paso Fino

Paso Fino

Awareness of the Paso Fino didn't spread outside Latin America until after WWII. It was after American servicemen came into contact with the stunning horse while stationed in Puerto Rico that Americans began importing them in the mid-1940s. In the 1960's, Paso Finos started to be imported from Colombia. But which country produces the "true" Paso Fino? There are "purists" who advocate for one or the other country, but the American Paso Fino is often a blend of the best of the Puerto Rican and Colombian bloodlines.

The Paso Fino ranges in size from 13.0 hands to 15.2 hands. Weight ranges from 700 to 1100 lbs but full size may not be attained until the fifth year. Every equine color, from solid to pinto, can be found in the Paso Fino, with or without white markings.

The head should be refined and in good proportion to the body, neither extremely small nor large with a preferred straight profile. Eyes are large, well spaced, expressive and alert. Ears are short, set close, and curved inward at the tips. The impression should be of an intelligent face. The neck should be gracefully arched, medium in length and set on at an angle to allow high carriage. Mane, tail and forelock should be as long, full and luxurious as possible and no artificial additions or surgical alterations are allowed. The tail is carried gracefully when horse is in motion. Standing slightly under in the rear is a typical pose.

One cannot talk about a Paso Fino without focusing on their extremely smooth gait, even their name, Paso Fino, means "Fine Step". The basic gaits of the Paso Fino in order of speed are the paso fino, paso corto, and paso largo and they are capable of executing other gaits that are natural to horses, including a relaxed walk and lope or canter. These are not trained gaits, but are natural to the horse and are displayed at birth. Newborn foals struggle to their feet and take their first faltering steps in the gait. Owners pride themselves in the naturalness of their horses since artificial training aids are not necessary to bring out this genetically instinctual gait.

The Paso Fino gait is performed at three forward speeds with varying degrees of collection. At all speeds of the gait, the rider should appear motionless in the saddle, and there should be no perceptible up and down motion of the horse's croup. Demonstrations show the rider holding a full glass of water, not spilling a drop, and barely moving the water in the glass at all.

Paso Fino Horses | Puerto Rico Paso Fino 

The Classic Fino, also known as the Fino Fino, Paso, or Paso Fino gait, exhibits full collection with a very slow forward speed. It is an evenly-spaced four-beat lateral gait with each foot contacting the ground independently in a regular sequence at precise intervals creating a rapid, unbroken and extremely regular 1-2-3-4 rhythm. Executed perfectly, the four hoof beats are absolutely even in both cadence and impact, resulting in unequaled smoothness and comfort for the rider. The footfall is extremely rapid with the steps and extension exceedingly short. Although the horse steps extremely rapidly, it takes only small strides; so the speed is somewhere between a walk and a canter. This gait is usually only used in show because it strains the horse, although they can sustain the Paso for an extended period of time without resting. It is quite a remarkable sight since the horse appears to be dancing.

The Paso Corto has a forward speed that is moderate with full to moderate collection. The footfalls are ground-covering but unhurried and are executed with medium extension and stride. It is a comfortable medium-speed gait similar to the trot in speed. The corto is the average trail gait and a well conditioned Paso Fino can travel at the corto for hours. Since it is very energy efficient, it is ideal for long days of riding.

The Paso Largo is the fastest speed of the gait, almost like a canter, and is an even more extended version of the same footfall. It is executed with a longer extension and stride with moderate to minimal collection. The forward speed varies with the individual horse since their top speed should be in harmony with its own natural stride and cadence. A horse at the largo can cover ground at a breathtaking speed, extending its legs much more to cover more ground, while still providing a secure and balanced seat for the rider.

Some Pasos develop the Trocha, which is a diagonal variant on the Paso. This is often discouraged except in parts of Colombia. Although it is a natural gait, it is not as desirable as the Paso. Some horses develop this diagonal version when they are stressed or tired, so it can be a signal that a horse is overworked or simply picking up bad habits.

The Paso Fino has a lively yet controlled spirit and is a gentle horse that is intelligent, sensible and tractable. It is an extremely willing horse that truly seems to enjoy human companionship and strives to please with its very responsive attitude when under tack. They are often trained in both English and Western style and many owners choose stylish tack from one of the countries of the horse's origin. They are lightly shod or go unshod when away from rocky or paved surfaces.

In 1972, the Paso Fino Horse Association (PFHA) was founded. It is a member governed, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting and improving the breed. It is unclear from their website if they are a breed registering body as there is no reference to the official or historic studbook or any other registration information that you would expect from a registry. Its 8,500 members are represented by 24 regional groups in the United States, Canada, Europe and South America who all sponsor shows and other events, but do not register Paso Finos.

Another website called Paso Registry (PFR) likewise is "not THE registry" as one blogger has written, but it does have a pedigree lookup for the foundation stallions. A link on their site to "register your horse" leads nowhere, and there is no registration information that one would expect on a registry site. A glance at the pedigrees listed shows that Paso Fino names are usually Spanish or Spanish "flavored" but whether this is an official registration requirement (as in some breeds), or just traditional preference is unclear when registration rules are unavailable.

The Paso Fino horse is versatile, able to adapt to a variety of climates and purposes and demonstrates its remarkable versatility not just in the show ring, but on competitive trail and endurance rides, in dressage, rodeo, and working cattle. They continue to grow in popularity, as one-by-one, converts are won over through the experience of the ride.

About the Author

Crystal writes for, classifieds of Paso Finos for sale and other horse breeds, dairy farms, used trailers for sale and horse tack.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Piragua - Puerto Rico Piragua



A piragua is a Puerto Rican frozen treat, shaped like a pyramid, made of shaved ice and covered with fruit flavored syrup which are sold by vendors, known as piragüeros, in small colorful pushcarts. Piraguas are not only sold in Puerto Rico; they can be found in the United States in areas such as New York, where there is a large Puerto Rican community.

In Puerto Rico the word piragua refers to a frozen treat made of shaved ice and covered with fruit flavored syrup. Unlike the American snow cone which is round and resembles a snowball, the piragua is pointy and shaped like a pyramid.  The word piragua is derived from the combination of the Spanish words "Piramide" (pyramid) and "Agua" (water).In Latin America, frozen treats similar to the piragua are known by many different names.

Piragua and the piragüeros

Piragua Puerto Rico Piragua 

The piragua vendor is known as the "Piragüero". Most Piragüeros sell their product from a colorful wooden pushcart that carries an umbrella, instead of from a fixed stand or kiosk. The Piragüero makes the treats from shavings off a block of solid ice inside his cart and mixtures of fruit-flavored syrups. The tropical syrup flavors vary from lemon and strawberry to passion fruit and guava. Once the syrups are ready, the Piragüero will go to his place of business, which in Puerto Rico is usually close to the town plaza, while in the United States it is usually close to the public parks near Hispanic neighborhoods, to sell his product.

Piragua Hand Ice Shaver

type of Hand Ice Shaver used by the Piragüero

Puerto Rico Piragua

In the process of preparing a piragua, the piragüero shaves the ice from the block of ice with a Hand Ice Shaver. He then puts the shaved ice into a cup and uses a funnel shaped tool to give it the distinctive pyramid shape. The Piragüero finishes making the piragua after he pours the desired flavored syrup. Unlike the typical American snow cone, which is often eaten with a spoon, the piragua is eaten straight out of the cup or is sipped through a straw. Piragüeros are only out on hot sunny days because those are the only days when they can expect good business.


Piragua Puerto Rico Piragua
Puerto Rico Piragua Syrups

Piraguas in the United States

"For me, as a Puerto Rican born and raised in New York, a piragua pushcart vendor is a very special person. He represents an important part of our culture. Those  shaved-ice cones filled with Caribbean tropical syrups, not only ease the body during the hot summers, their sweet goodness reminds of us of who we are and where we come from, without words."

  • "There are also pushcarts serving "piragua" (shaved ice with your choice of syrup poured over it), and others selling balloons." - 2 September 1968, Bridgeport (CT) Telegram, "‘La Marqueta’ Offers a Slice of Puerto Rico in New York" by Amei Wallach (UPI) pg. 34, col. 1.
  • "Piraguas and knishes, It’s the season for the 25-cent hot dog, the 20-cent sundae, the 15-cent pretzel (two for a quarter) and an assortment of ethnic delicacies that range from piraguas (scraped ice with syrup) to potato knishes." — 30 July 1969, New York (NY) Times, "Venders Profits From Universal Taste" by Bernard Weinraub, pg. 41.
  • "Piraguas (snow cones) are shaved from blocks of ice inside colorful carts, and offered with sweet syrups poured over them for 30 cents a scoop." - 13 November 1977, New York (NY) Times, "Old San Juan: Vibrant City Life With a Style That’s High and Low" by Robert Friedman, pg. XX14.

Piragua vending is not limited to Puerto Rico and New York, piragüeros with their  Piragua pushcarts can be found in Hispanic neighborhoods in Bridgeport, Chicago, Jersey City, Miami, Newark, Philadelphia and elsewhere.

Piraguas in Old San Juan Puerto Rico

Piragua Supplies

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Casa Bacardi: Puerto Rican History and Tradition

La Casa Bacardi

Casa Bacardi

Casa Bacardi is home to the Bacardi family's extensive rum distillery and a popular Puerto Rican tourist stop. Located in the town of Catano and monitored by the Morro, Casa Bacardi is a fifteen-minute drive from San Juan. Once inside the Casa Bacardi Visitor Center, guides talk about the rich history of one of the world's most popular rums, the Bacardi founder and the distillery's impact on the global market. You can learn about how originally with Bacardi Cuba was the location of its origin, and later expanded to Puerto Rico.

The Bacardi Bat is a symbol of good fortune. The abundance of bats on the ceilings of old and dark distilleries is what inspired the Bacardi Bat logo. The Bacardi family has invested approximately seven million dollars into the Casa Bacardi Visitor Center, which utilizes the latest technologies to entertain and educate. Visitors can choose either an English or a Spanish tour onboard a small streetcar. They get to appreciate all the work that goes in to concocting the fragrant liqueur -- from the big fermentation barrels to the actual bottling process of the different rums.

Amidst tropical Puerto Rican breezes, the popular tour begins. First stop is the Bacardi Family Museum. The main exhibit is Sr. Facundo Bacardi Masso, here visitors get a detailed and historical overview that almost sends them back in time. Next up is the Bat Theatre, where a movie about the history of the Bacardi family and the launching of the company can be seen under an optical fiber dome that simulates the night sky.

Puerto Rican History

bacardi rum drinksThe next stop on the tour takes guests to an amazing replica of the very first Bacardi distillery with huge wood barrels filled with Bacardi rum abounds. A small room filled with even more historical objects gives visitors an idea of the distillery's almost 150-year-old traditions.

Half of the exposition contains more high technology, such as large plasma TVs that show how the rum is made and olfactory sections that alert visitors to the distinct Bacardi aromas.

A 1930s style bar recreates the golden "cocktail" era, with help from a bartender's old tales. Later, visitors enter an illuminated room where they can create video postcards to send back home.

The tour ends at an impressive pavilion in the shape of a flying bat. Now visitors can sit and relax in a colonial court and savor two free Bacardi cocktails. While some take time out to relax, others visit the Bacardi House Gift Shop to purchase all kinds of souvenirs: T-shirts, caps, glasses, towels, and, of course Bacardi bottles.

Bacardi House tours are free and take place every twenty minutes, Monday through Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and again on Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Anyone interested in more information on Bacardi House can call (787) 788-8400


Monday, August 17, 2020

Puerto Rican Flag - Puerto Rico Flag

By Pollux Parker 
Puerto Rico Flag

Puerto Rico has a variety of flags: the current national flag which represents the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, municipal banners to represent its numerous regions, political flags for the varied political ideologies of the people, and sports flags which the country uses during sports and athletic competitions.

Puerto Rican Flag

The history of the current Puerto Rico flag goes all the way back to 1868. This was when "The Revolutionary Flag of Lares" was first conceptualized by Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances and then later on embroidered by Mariana "Brazos de Oro" Bracetti. This flag was flown during the Puerto Rico revolution against the Spaniards and was known as "El Grito de Lares."

The flag was then adopted by the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Committee's vice president. Then, in 1892, a new design was fashioned after the Cuban flag and was subsequently adopted by the committee. The new design featured five red horizontal bands, alternating with white stripes, and a blue isosceles triangle along the hoist side which features a white, five-pointed star in the center.

Puerto Rico Flag

English: Puerto Rican flag waving in the wind.... 

In 1952, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico used the same design as its official country flag without stipulating the particular tones and shades of colors to be used. Then, in 1995, the Puerto Rican government issued a regulation where in the colors were specified but no official color tones or shades were mandated. Thus, when visiting the island, it is not surprising to see the Puerto Rican flag bearing different shades of blue, in light or dark tones.

Pollux Parker is a lover of the outdoors and he cannot wait to soak up the sun on the beaches of Puerto Rico. He hopes to return from his trip with an inexpensive Puerto Rican Flag as a keepsake. During his vacation, he also wants to see how many shade variations of the Puerto Rican Flag he'll be able to stumble upon.

    Que Bonita Bandera La Bandera Puertorriqueñ

Friday, August 14, 2020

¡Qué Bonita Bandera La Bandera Puertorriqueña!

¡Qué Bonita Bandera La Bandera Puertorriqueña!

El Simbolismo De Nuestra Bandera

La palabra viene del vocablo alemán "bandwo" que quiere decir “signo”. Las banderas indentifican la personalidad moral e histórica de las entidades que representan. Las primeras banderas tenían un propósito militar. En los combates, el primer objetivo de ataque era derribarla, esto equivalía a derrota. Se opina que ésta noción se originó en la antigua China o la India.

El uso de la bandera se popularizó a partir de la tercera cruzada en el siglo 12. Después de la Revolución Francesa de 1789, su utilización es común como símbolo de republicanismo para representar e identificar genuinamente las diferentes nacionalidades. Se afirma que hubo una bandera otorgada a Puerto Rico por los Reyes Católicos Fernando e Isabel. Esa bandera es contemporánea con el primer Escudo de Armas. Igual como sucedió con el primer escudo, el original de esta bandera también se extravió. La primera bandera puertorriqueña fue la del Grito de Lares en el 1868. Esa bandera la confeccionó Mariana Bracetti, conocida como “Brazo de Oro”, y fué basada en un diseño del Dr. Ramón Emeterio Belances.

Flag of Puerto Rico 

En el 1895, durante los principios de la Guerra Revolucionaria Cubana (Martí muere exilado en NY en ese año), había en NY una sección del Partido Revolucionario Cubano llamada “SPR” (Sección de Puerto Rico), dirigida por José Julio Henna, Roberto H.Todd, Juan M. de Terreforte, Sotero Figueroa, Aurlio Méndez y Manuel Besosa. Ahi se decidió adoptar una nueva bandera para sustituir la del Grito De Lares, que era la que los Boricuas usaban en ese tiempo. (Hostos fué exilado en Chile y Betances fué exilado en Paris, Francia). Se decidió entonces, imitar el símbolo de la insurrección cubana pero invirtiendo en vez los colores. Source: Francisco Scarano, “Puerto Rico—Cinco Siglos De Historia” McGraw Hill Inter-Americana, S.A., 1993), página 533.

La bandera puertorriqueña es de forma rectangular con cinco (5) franjas horizontales. Tres (3) rojas y dos (2) blancas. Junto al asta, tiene un triángulo equilátero azul con una estrella blanca solitaria en el centro. El significado original de ésta bandera era el siguiente: Las franjas rojas representaban la sangre derramada por los patriotas de la revolución. Las franjas blancas significan la victoria la paz venidera. El triángulo azul equilátero es símbolo del mar y del ciclo de nuestro Puerto Rico. La estrella solitaria representa la isla.

Al adoptarla oficialmente como la bandera del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico en el 1952, se le adjudicó el siguiente significado: Las tres franjas roja simbolizarían la sangre vital que nutre los tres (3) poderes de gobierno que son: Legislativo, Ejecutivo y Judicial. Las dos franjas blancas representan la libertad del individuo y los derechos del hombre que mantienen en equilibrio los tres poderes de nuestra forma de gobierno. La estrella blanca solitaria simboliza el Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, Perla del Caribe. El triágulo azul representa la forma Republicana de Gobierno sustentado en sus tres poderes.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

El Cuido de los Pollitos y su Alimentacion

Como mencionáramos en nuestra sección anterior, un buen Gallo de pelea depende del buen cuido que hayan tenido sus padres en el momento de aparearse.

Los pollos nacen del huevo de la gallina y se tardan en nacer 21 días a partir desde el primer día en que la gallina se queda clueca y se acuesta sobre los huevos o 21 días a partir desde que usted los mete en la incubadora (incubadora es una maquina que sustituye la función que realiza la gallina) y cuya temperatura es aproximadamente 100 grados F.

Una vez los pollitos salen del cascarón debe dejarlos por lo menos un día adicional con su gallina o en la incubadora para que se sequen y estabilicen. Es recomendable el quitarselos a la gallina y pasarlos a una jaula que esté completamente sellada a prueba de mosquitos y viento directo.

Se comienza su alimentación con un alimento (purina) completamente fina y que sea medicada para evitar las enfermedades. Deben tener suficiente agua en todo momento y cambiar la misma todos los días por agua limpia. Al cabo de dos semanas los pollitos deben ser vacunados contra la viruela y ese mismo día se le debe incluir algún tipo de vitamina en el agua por los próximos dos días; una vez vacunados ya se le puede dar un poco mas de ventilación.

Luego de las primeras dos semanas se le debe añadir a su dieta por lo menos dos días a la semana (es mi recomendación muy personal la que ha dado 100 % de resultados) algún tipo de comida que contenga fibra y vitaminas como lo son una mezcla de garbanzos molidos, plátanos maduros, huevos, pan, etc; etc; lo cual le daría energía y a su vez evitaría que los pollos se criasen raquíticos.

A las tres semanas se le debe cambiar su comida por una que sea de crecer y engordar y a su vez un poco mas gruesa; al llegar al mes de nacidos se deben desparasitar a con medicamento a través del agua por espacio de todo un día, día el cual se le debe retirar todo tipo de comida y durante la tarde darle pan con agua.

Una vez desparasitados se le vuelve a su ración de comida regular al próximo día pero añadiendole algún tipo de vitamina al agua por no más de dos días lo cual aligerará el que le de más apetito.

Debe prestarle mucha atención a los pollitos a partir de las primeras tres semanas ya que estos comienzan a pelear entre sí (en algunas ocasiones hasta la muerte) por lo que debe separar a los que peleen de los demás sin dilación alguna.

Pasadas las siete u ocho semanas ya los pollos están listos para ser soltados en el campo (ya que se pueden valer por si solos) o en el machero (machero es el corral donde se sueltan todos los pollos machos) debe tener en cuenta que al soltarlos debe haber un gallo o pollo mayor que ellos que será el que imparta respeto cuando los pollos comienzen a pelear y así evitar que se estropeen.

Antes de soltar los pollos estos deben ser desparasitados nuevamente y así sucesivamente una vez al mes hasta que los pollos sean cogidos para ser encerrados individualmente; evento que será en los próximos cuatro a cinco meses cuando ya los mismos no respeten al gallo o al pollo mayor y tampoco se respeten entre sí.

La alimentación durante ese periodo de tiempo de cuatro a cinco meses debe ser con alimento a base de proteínas, vitaminas y calcio para obtener un buen desarrollo en los pollos.

Cualquier pollo que represente o aparente tener algún tipo de enfermedad debe ser segregado inmediatamente del grupo y tratado individualmente hasta su total recuperación antes de volverlo a juntar con los demás, de no recuperarse después del tratamiento, este debe ser sacrificado para evitar el contagio y que se críe raquítico y evitar así una gran desventaja a la hora de enfrentarse a sus rivales.

Siguiendo todas las recomendaciones anteriores entendemos que usted obtendrá los mejores y mas saludables pollos para enfrentarlos a los mejores contrincantes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

La Casta De Gallos de Pelea en Puerto Rico

Castar un Gallo de Pelea es un arte que se lleva en la sangre, la casta es sinónimo de cría, valentía, lucha, poder y orgullo; placer de ver los nuestros triunfar sin dar marcha atrás aún en momentos difíciles.

Castar no es otra cosa que aparear Gallos de cría (finos) con las mejores Gallinas para obtener los futuros campeones de pelea y enfrentarlos a los mejores rivales. Un buen castador en sus comienzos procura seleccionar lineas de gallos probadas (Gallos que han peleado y han hecho magníficas peleas) Gallos que estando malamente heridos mientras más golpes reciben mas gustan del combate y buenas gallinas que aunque no pelean son aquellas madres o hermanas de esos buenos peleadores.

Debemos tener mucho cuidado cuando se seleccionan Gallos y gallinas para castar ya que no todos los gallos que hacen las mejores peleas producen grandes campeones; todo es cuestión de tiempo y requiere de dos a tres años o tal vez más y mucha paciencia y dedicación para que usted pueda saber si un Gallo y una gallina son buenos reproductores. Mencionamos dos o tres años ya que es el tiempo que usted se demora en criar, preparar y ver pelear sus pollos para que demuestren su cría y luego analizar si valió o no la pena.

Es costumbre común el que un Gallo que realice una buena pelea su dueño enseguida opte por echarle una gallina para la recría, pero en su mayoría ese proceso es erróneo ya de no salir el Gallo un buen reproductor usted ha perdido su tiempo y tal vez su dinero.

Un buen castador comienza por seleccionar un buen Gallo y un buen grupo de diferentes gallinas, debe tener sus gallinas en jaulas separadas para que pueda identificar y clasificar individualmente los huevos de estas y a su vez los pollitos cuando nacen, para luego de pelearlos comenzar a seleccionar las verdaderas y más productivas combinaciones de padres para dedicarlos a la recría.

Una vez se seleccionan, clasifican y se acomodan individualmente las madres y los padres, se procede entonces el proceso de limpiar las gallinas para evitar que estas hayan sido pisadas por otros Gallos. (limpiar es dejarlas poner todos los huevos hasta que se queden cluecas) (Clueca es el proceso donde la gallina ha puesto ya todos los huevos de ese ciclo y se acuesta sobre ellos para sacar sus crías) Una gallina fina de buena raza pone entre 8 a 12 huevos)(llamamos fina o fino a la gallina o al Gallo de buena cría)

Terminado el proceso de limpieza se procede a echarle el Gallo una vez al día a la gallina para que este la aparee y comience a poner sus huevos nuevamente pero esta vez con la certeza que los mismos son del gallo que usted le echa. Un Gallo puede aparear durante el día varias gallinas a la vez.

Es muy importante que durante el ciclo de limpieza de la gallina usted haya desparasitado la misma y le haya dado una buena alimentación para que esta ponga huevos grandes y fértiles y a su vez las crías nascan fuertes y saludables.

En fín; en la casta de Gallos finos de pelea las líneas de sangre es un factor muy determinante a la hora de producir buenos pollos, pero más importante aún son las combinaciones de Gallos padres y gallinas madres que usted pueda realizar para obtener buenos resultados y para que eso buenos resultados rindan frutos es muy importante los record (escritos) que usted debe llevar en todo momento, records como lo son las distintas combinaciones de gallos y gallinas, cantidad de huevos que puso la gallina, fecha de incubación, huevos fértiles, fecha de nacimiento de los pollitos y cantidad de hembras y machos en cada nacimiento para determinar con más exactitud cual ha sido la mejor combinación que nos de esa gran satisfacción.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Santeria Religion - What is Santeria?

Santeria Religion

Santeria Religion Santeria Religion[/caption]

In this time anyone caught in the worship of native gods would be punished and many times by death, Africans and the native Tainos. In order to keep the religion and life, The slaves became "Christianized" at least to the slave owners. The slaves took each African god(Orisha) and renamed them after the saints. Chango the god of thunder became Santa Barbara and they kept the religion in secret. Even today the religion is kept in secret since there is still people who see it as devil worship when it's not.

There are hundreds of gods in Africa but within Santeria, many people worship 7 main Orishas. Also represents the planets: Mars, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune,Uranus plus the Sun & Moon. Each has his or her own colors, numbers, foods, herbs, so on. Jesus would be Olodumare or Olofin, Olorun. He would have no sacrifices, his day is Thursday and his color is all combined.

Sacrifices is a part of Santeria, Animal as well as foods and Chances are that within your home or relative's home, You have seen the 7 day glass candles in different colors and with pictures Of the saints. Maybe a cup with old coffee and a dish full of change. Or you light candles for your dead family since we as Puerto Ricans have What is called "ancestor worship" which can be found in the African & Taino culture. We pray to our dead for help and guidance and protection. This is Santeria and Taino beliefs and not Christian beliefs.

What is Santeria?

Santeria Religion | What is Santeria Seven African Powers Seven African Powers[/caption] When an animal is to be sacrificed, Its done by a priest or Babalu only. We can have altars and offer food, money, coffee, but we are not to kill an animal. Animals are used only in major situations, Such as ones life is in danger or badly cursed. With all religions, there is good and bad people.. This does not make the religion itself bad but the people who use it for harm.

Santeria isn't just about magic or voodoo, These people are the people we go to when we are sick. They know what herbs gives what effects, This is something in the African & Taino culture as well. To the church it is looked at as bad and even evil. Within the church, There is no herbs and only Jesus is the one you pray to and not the Virgin or Lazarus.

Every Puerto Rican and Latin knows to pray to Lazarus is to pray for money. This is not a Christian or Catholic belief. So in many ways we still keep our pre-Christian beliefs with us without knowing where we get them from. The Virgin brings miracles...San Jose protects her and all Virgins St. Christopher protects while we travel.

Orishas (gods)

Elegua - a.k.a. "Holy Child of Atocha" Day of week: Mondays and 3rd of each month Number: 3 Color: red & black , his beads or Ilekes would be 3 red, 3 black over and over until you have the length you want. Sacrifice/Animal: roosters & goats Foods to offer him:smoked fish, yams, sugar cane Herbs: avocado leaves, coffee, guava, mint, coconut husk, black eyed peas, crowfoot, dried rose buds. Elegua - is the god of the dead or underworld and is know to play tricks on people and is the god whom protects your home. Always at the "crossroads" like to be at the cemetery & Funerals   Santeria Religion | What is Santeria Santa Barbara Chango- a.k.a. Santa Barbara Days of the week: friday also Dec.4 th Number:6 Color: red & white, his beads would be 6 red, 6 white Animals: pigs ,roosters, goat, rabbits sometimes horses and bulls Foods: corojo butter, cactus, corn meal, apples, red wine Herbs: pine, plantains, mugwort, apple trees, leeks Chango is the god of thunder but also a lustful god..he's fire much like the mythic Aries Also an African warrior King Yemaya a.k.a. La Virgin de Regala Days of the week: friday & saturday Number: 7 Colors: white & blue, her beads would be 7 white, 7 blue Animals: roosters, lambs, fish Foods to be given: sea water, pork cracklings, plantain chips, watermelon Herbs: seaweed, florida grass, indigo Yemaya- is a "Mother" goddess and protects women and children.. she is an ocean goddess Also queen of all brujas y brujos- she is the moon Oshun -a.k.a Our Lady of Charity English: Our Lady of Charity (La Virgen de La ... Days of the week: saturday Number: 5 Colors: yellow & orange, her beads would be 5 yellow, 5 orange Animals: hens(white), nanny goats, female pigs Foods: honey, river water, cinnamon, shrimp Herbs: cinnamon, roses, oranges, anise seeds, rosemary, sunflowers, papaya Oshun - is the goddess of love and beauty, much like Venus..she is a river goddess Also a fertility goddess..lover of Chango Ogun- a.k.a St. Peter & St. Miguel Days of the week: tuesday Number: 7 Colors: green & black, his beads would be 7 green, 7 black Animals: roosters, bulls Foods to be given: smoked fish, water from ponds, yams w/blood. Herbs: eucalyptus, red pepper, black pepper, oak leaves Ogun- is a warrior god and enemy of Chango, god of technology Oya-a.k.a Santa Virgen de la Candelaria & St. Theresa Days of the week: wednesday Colors: black & white Numbers: 9 Animals: birds Foods to be given: eggplant, rain water Herbs: plantain, marigold, mugwort Oya - Is a goddess that has powers over spirits..the dead, To look at her will make you blind or madness within the mind She is a warrior goddess. Obatala - a.k.a Our Lady of Mercy Days of the week: sunday Colors: white Numbers: 21 Animals: goats, chickens, cows - all must be white & female Foods: rainwater, flour, cornmeal Herbs: mint, basil, yucca, cotton, almonds Obatala - is a god who is said to be the father of man much like Adam Oshosi -a.k.a St. Norbert Days of the week: tuesday Color: green Numbers: none Animals: roosters, pigs, goats Foods: mango, smoked fish Herbs: basil, tobacco Oshosi - is a hunter god who lives in the wild Orula -(Orunmila)a.k.a St Francis Days of the week: thursday Colors: green/blue & yellow Numbers: none Animals: goats (virgin) Foods: plum & yams Herbs: ginger, jasmine, guava, sage Orula -is a god of great who knows the future of all people. Also a warrior god. Babalu-Aye- a.k.a San Lazurus Days of the week: sunday Colors: white with blue Numbers: none Animals: roosters, snakes, goats Foods to be given: corn meal, coffee, cigars, pond water Herbs: guava, beans, jasmine, sage, peanuts Babalua-Aye - is a compassionate god and brother of Chango. Always shown as an old cripple man with 2 dogs and sores on his skin. He helps the poor and cripple. Ebos This is another word for spells with sacrifices. People use ebos in love, marriage, money, healings and harm or hurt others.

Initiation People who practice Santeria are to go through an initiation period. For this you would go to a Babalu who would perform this for you. You become a child and an Orisha is chosen for you who protects you. You will learn all the secrets of the particular Orisha. The Babalu will consult the Orishas through the use of cowry shells. There will be an animal sacrifice for this ritual and it's not cheap. You'll be given a "Godfather" and "Godmother" who are people within the Santeria community, They will guide and instruct you as to your rituals and be there for you in time of need.

Books to read: although there are many on this subject. Look for books by Migene Gonzales-Wipper, she has many Santeria books As well as a Boricua herself. What is Santeria? by Orisha Net Santeria by Wikipedia Visual Ethnographic exploration of the Afro-Caribbean religion of Santeria as it exists in my experience as a Puerto Rican - American woman from New Jersey